Thursday, 2 April 2009

Wired UK - first impressions of the new magazine (#wireduk)

Today I bought a magazine and I honestly can't remember the last time I did this! The event that has prompted me to part with my money at the newstand is the UK launch of Wired magazine. Wired is long established in the US, but after an absence of over 10 years, today Wired has returned to UK newstands.

Wired UK launch issue

So is it any good?

Wired UK is made up of 186 pages of high production paper. The front cover is made from thick matt gloss paper, badged with 'The New Magazine About What's Next' and flags the main feature 'Your Life In The Future' - with the cover then opening out into a gatefold:

Wired UK launch issue Front Cover gatefold

The gatefold includes references to the main feature with ideas such as 'holographic advertising', 'airships' and 'space elevators' and behind the gatefold cover is a 4 page ad for Sony Bravia. (Throughout the issue there is high end, male targeted advertising - Tag Heur, Dior, Audi, Jaguar, Glenfiddich and IBM to name a few.)

There is a varied mix of columns / snapshot editorial and main features. The thoughts of Russell Davies, a profile of a Google User-experience researcher, an interview with Twitter founder Evan Williams and how to pitch the iPhone Apps store are highlights of the early sections of Wired UK. There are also sections to cover Tests, Gadgets (called 'Fetish') and How to information.

The meatier features are good reads including an overview of how the BBC iPlayer was built, an in depth profile of PayPal founder Elon Musk, a review of online Life Tracking and analysis of the risk 'formula that brought down the global economy.' (Alongside these are more esoteric features on deep sea diving salvage operations and 'the people who really run Britain.')

The Wired UK main cover feature is simply called 'What Next? - 46 experts, 99 predictions, 14610 days, news from the next 40 years.' 12 pages of uninterrupted predictions for the future:

Wired UK main cover feature - 'What Next?'

The only aspect that I think could be improved is the digital integration. A number of Wired UK contributors have their blogs referenced, but I could only find one journalist who had listed his Twitter ID. My guess (hope) is that the majority of the Wired UK staff will be on Twitter and regularly blogging interesting thoughts and ideas - why not publish ID's in the magazine and let readers interact more directly?

(Also how about a regular crowdsourced Wired UK feature? Publish a draft outline on the Wired UK website and use Wiki functionality to allow readers to contribute and edit - then use the Wired UK website to link back to the blogs / Twitter ID's of the featured contributors.)

All in all I think Wired UK is rather good. It's actually quite refreshing to revert back to reading nicely formatted printed matter - a pleasant change from the standard diet of Blackberry and laptop information consumption! I'm pleased with my magazine purchase and may well be buying Wired UK next month too.

UPDATE: Wired UK are promoting this launch issue with pavement logos. Here's one from outside my office:

Wired UK launch pavement logosWired UK launch issue - pavement promotion in London


neilperkin said...

Nice to see you think there's life in magazines yet ;-).

Some good ideas you have there - interesting to see if they get in touch with you or whether they're monitoring what people are saying them on the web...

Nick Burcher said...

I think the key to success for them is to remember that it's highly likely that their target audience spend most of the day participating in communities, engaging with each other through things like Twitter and sharing things they find useful.

If Wired just becomes a GQ for tech then I think it will struggle to maintain momentum on a monthly basis. However, if they find new formulas that engage their readership outside of a standard letters page then they could be on to something.

Why not have a post of the month syndication?
Post certain articles online for discussion and then print the comments in the following issue?
Guest columnists from the blogosphere?
Replicate Twitter noise around key events?
Online polls where users decide on some aspect of the magazine?
etc etc

Launching on the day that Maxim closes, it will be interesting to see how it does.

Johnny said...

Still ruminating about whether or not I need to buy a UK Edition of WIRED. I remember the last one.

Not convinced yet


Anonymous said...


i am wondering whether there is a point in subscribing to the magazine since most articles can be found on the website. any thoughts on that?